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Greene and Greene Chessboard Update

Last fall I designed a Greene-and-Greene chessboard (below) that my son Carter (age 13) and I then built. Next, I posted in the Woodworking Software forum to see if anyone was interested in illustrating the project in SketchUp. Two parties responded, and they spent the next several months diligently working with me to create the illustrations.


Earlier I shared the SketchUp file created by Don Bulter. Now, I’d to share the illustrations and story of the second group, the Advanced Woodworking class at Mercer County School District 404 located in Aledo, Illinois. The high school consists of 435 students.

As described by John Swank, the instructor for this class: We saw Marlen’s post on the WOOD Online forums and thought, wow, this is a project we’d love to tackle, but it’s going to take a fair amount of work as it is a bit beyond our student’s current abilities. But, several class members (shown below) tackled the project with enthusiasm!HPIM2246

Pictured from left to right first row: Travis Gilmour, Cale Muske, Caitlyn Brown, Tyler Fitchner 
Second Row: Nick Thorndike, Brandan Dixon, Marvin McCarty, Andrew Christie, John Swank

The chessboard was drawn by the Advanced Woodworking class, which is a 3rd year course. Introduction to Woodworking and Woodworking Production classes are prerequisites for this course so all of the students have had a woodworking curriculum for three years prior to this course. Marlen’s Greene and Greene chessboard drawings were an additional assignment to the normal curriculum. This is the first year that we have had more than one computer in the classroom, and also the first year that all students were required to make a finished drawing using Sketchup. Previously, many students have created drawings for their projects at home or on their own time on the shop computer. The chessboard was a collaborative effort of several students. The students made a drawing, but they worked together to solve problems that they had not encountered before. For example, the roundovers on nearly every edge of the chessboard was a difficult problem that they solved after much research and many trials. The curved base and exposed ebony splines was another situation that they had not previously encountered. When they finally had it mastered they each had a copy of the component to use and incorporate into their drawings.

Prior to this assignment, most of the students felt comfortable making simple drawings of tables with mortise-and-tenon joinery. After completing this extra-curricular project, many feel comfortable on complicated and curved projects complete with routed edges. Several have also started on drawings for their senior year project. In completing the chessboard illustrations, several of the students learned more than just how to use Skecthup to make a finished drawing with various views. They also learned how to research and solve problems and work as a team.

John, your students did a fabulous job on this project and you were a pleasure to work with. Thanks for coordinating the project. Hopefully many will find the illustrations helpful and incentive enough to build their own. Marlen @ WOOD

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